We have a puppy who needs lots of exercise, sometimes more than these bones of ours are up for. So when I want to relax and still exercise my pooch, I go to Paws Park, the 17th Avenue dog park in central Sarasota. The park is also home to organized soccer, softball leagues, and archery in the evenings, but I prefer the vibes in the dog park.
Teeming with pups young and old, this off-leash but controlled space is Disney World for all dogs who love to romp, roll, catch a Frisbee, or chase a ball. The park is divided into multiple fenced-off areas: small dogs, large dogs, dogs-in-training. The acreage is vast — and fully fenced in. Plus the area provides water for Fifi and Fido, along with bathing pools and waste bags. My Norwich Terrier occasionally asks to sneak in and play with the big boys where he has a real workout. Nobody seems to mind as everyone is friendly and dog crazy.
All sections of the park have picnic tables and shelters from the sun so owners can relax and chat while their dogs frolic. As is typical of Sarasota, guests have moved here from all over the country — Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, Maine, Ontario and other wintery locales — happy to be in the outdoors sans boots, coats, and mittens — and no silly dog sweaters.
On our last visit, a dog named Velcro was sticking around to celebrate his 10th birthday. His owners had decorated a picnic table and were handing out StarBARKS coffee and Snicker-POODLE cookies for the humans and trail mix dog treats for the canines. Paws Park is filled with fun people and plenty of activity to elevate your dog’s serotonin as well as provide an opportunity to hang out with like-minded dog lovers.
The Sarasota Spectator
Our Sarasota Spectator is Betsy Miller, a retired high school teacher and college professor. Originally from Columbus, Betsy has fallen in love with the Gulf Coast of Florida, especially Sarasota. Blogging about the area has been a creative outlet for the writer, opening up an avenue of exploration. You may find the bon vivant enjoying happy hour at a tiki bar, shopping on historic Main Street, or seated at a concert or show at a local theater. Chances are you also might find her buried in a book on one of our beautiful beaches. Asked to give one word about her feelings for Sarasota, Betsy replied, “Smitten.”